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Mantra and Its meanings



-H.H. Swamiji Sri Selvam Siddhar


Asato maa, Sadgamayaa
Tamaso maa, Jyotirgamayaa ;
Mrityor maa, Amritam Gamayaa.

Asato-Maa, Sad Gamaya - From untruth to Truth! Untruth is the death of the ego. The Truth is eternal and immortal. So once you are part of the Truth, there is no question of death at all. My friends, the third barrier stopping enlightenment is the barrier of ego. Therefore, to experience God, we should see that the ego dies as early as possible.

Tamasoma, Jyotir Gamaya - There lies the light of wisdom. Tamas is the darkness. Jyoti is the light. With light, darkness is dispelled. Darkness is death. The light is Truth, Bliss, Peace. The light is eternal.

Mrityor maa, Amritam Gamayaa - Lead me from death to immortality through purity of purpose.

We are birthless, deathless and eternal; we are Truth itself. We celebrate birthdays because, having enough money, we want to have a social function. We enjoy it for a while, happily arranging it. Happy Birthday! But actually you were never born. It is only the body that appeared. That's all! You existed even before the existence of this body.

SWamiji  gives this beautiful example: There is electricity everywhere. But when it is inside the electric light bulb, it sheds light. When the bulb is removed, the electricity is still there, is that not so? So, electricity is ever-present. When the bulb is fixed, you get illumination. When the bulb is removed, you don't get illumination. With the bulb or without the bulb, electricity exists. You are Divine energy. You are Cosmic energy. You are the eternal Truth. The bulb is the body. That's all!



The "Sahanavavatu mantra" is one of the shaanti (peace) mantras which has its origins in the Taittiriya Upanisad. This mantra is often used as a "universal" prayer, to send the message of peace and prosperity. The mantra may also be used to invoke God's blessings for harmony amongst teacher(s) and student(s).

AUM saha navavatu, saha nau bhunaktu
Saha veeryam karvaavahai
Tejasvi naa vadhita mastu
maa vid vishaa va hai
AUM shaantih, shaantih, shaantih.

Meaning of the Sahanavavatu Mantra

Let us together (-saha) be protected (-na vavatu) and let us together be nourished (-bhunaktu) by God's blessings. Let us together join our mental forces in strength (-veeryam) for the benefit of humanity (-karvaa vahai). Let our efforts at learning be luminous (-tejasvi) and filled with joy, and endowed with the force of purpose (-vadhita mastu). Let us never (-maa) be poisoned (-vishaa) with the seeds of hatred for anyone. Let there be peace and serenity (-shaantih) in all the three universes.

This mantra highlights the nature of the teacher-student relationship that produces ideal results for the student. The transference of mental, spiritual and intellectual energies from the teacher to the student can be achieved through a mutually nourishing relationship which is based on (mutual) respect, joy (of giving and receiving), and absence of malice or negative thoughts.

The transliterated version of the Sahanavavatu mantra is now presented. This transliteration is based on itrans.

AUM sah nAvavatu sah nau bhunaktu
sah vIry.n karvAvahai.
tejasvi nAvadhItamastu
mA vidviShAvahai..
AUM shAntiH shAntiH shAntiH..


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